TULSA, Okla. (Sept. 28, 2015) – The Tulsa Zoo announced today that two female Asian elephants joined its herd. Asha and Tova arrived at the zoo today in a partnership with Feld Entertainment, Inc., the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey ®.
Asha and Tova came from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation ® in Florida. Home to the largest herd of Asian elephants in North America, the CEC is dedicated to the conservation of these endangered pachyderms.
As with all new animals at the zoo, Asha and Tova will remain out of the main exhibits and separate from our existing elephants. This time allows the animals to acclimate and the staff to observe them closely as they settle in.
The Tulsa Zoo is home to three elephants, including females, Gunda and Sooky, and male, Sneezy. Tova, donated by Ringling Bros., will become a permanent member of the zoo’s herd. Asha traveled with Tova as a companion, and will remain at the zoo for several months before returning to the CEC.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, Asian elephants are listed as endangered. During the last 75 years, wild Asian elephant populations have declined by more than 50 percent. 30,000 to 50,000 Asian elephants remain in the wild primarily due to habitat loss. As wild population continues to decline, one day, it is possible that the only Asian elephants left in the world will live in human care. However, with few bulls and an aging female population, the North American Asian elephant population is at risk of becoming extinct. Because of this, it is imperative that we partner with other organizations.
“Collaboration is vital to ensure the long-term success of our Asian elephant populations,” says Tulsa Zoo Management, Inc., Vice President of Animal Conservation & Science, Joe Barkowski. “We are incredibly grateful for the generosity and ongoing partnership with Ringling Bros.”
The Tulsa Zoo is committed to our elephants, and eventual transition to a larger, multi-generation herd. One of the steps we’re taking is applying for Vision funding through the planned spring 2016 vote. If successful, part of this funding would go toward expanding and improving our elephant habitat.
About the Tulsa Zoo
Accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, the Tulsa Zoo seeks to inspire passion for wildlife in every guest, every day. Open 363 days a year, the Tulsa Zoo hosts more than 637,000 guests each year, making it the largest attraction in the Green Country region. The Tulsa Zoo is owned by the City of Tulsa and managed by Tulsa Zoo Management, Inc. TZMI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. In 2015, the Tulsa Zoo celebrates 87 years of providing family friendly recreation, natural sciences education and conservation of wildlife.
The Tulsa Zoo in 2015 opened the first exhibit of its 20-year master plan and broke ground on the second, Lost Kingdom. Learn more about the master plan and capital campaign, Building Beyond Your Wildest Dreams, at www.buildingbeyond.org. For more information about the Tulsa Zoo, visit www.tulsazoo.org or call (918) 669-6600.
About Feld Entertainment
Feld Entertainment is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live touring family entertainment experiences that lift the human spirit and create indelible memories, with 30 million people in attendance at its shows each year. Feld Entertainment’s productions have appeared in more than 75 countries and on six continents to date and include Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey ®, Disney On Ice Presented by StonyfieldYoKids Organic Yogurt, Disney Live! Presented by StonyfieldYoKids Organic Yogurt, Marvel Universe LIVE!, and Feld Motor Sports. More information about Feld Entertainment is available online at www.feldentertainment.com.